Perovskite Solar Cells Printed on Steel

Solar cell made from perovskite

This is about ongoing research, not finished products. Tata Steel, India, and Swansea University, Wales, UK have announced collaboration on research to print perovskite solar cells directly on steel used for roof panels.

(Photo courtesy of Solliance, a European partnership focusing on thin film solar.)

Per a recent news release, Swansea brings expertise in manufacturing the printable cells while Tata brings expertise in coatings on steel, and in screen printing. The two have a long-standing partnership

The goal, of course, is for buildings to generate their own electricity. They report success using them on two Swansea University buildings for several years. Several new release articles appeared in July. Here is a link to one, published on If you’re interested, the site also has a lot of other information on perovskite.

So – what is perovskite? I had to look it up. I’m not a chemist and much of the detail was beyond me, so I won’t try to write much here. It’s a mineral with a particular crystal structure known as the perovskite structure. Want more? Here’s a Wikipedia article link. Solar cells aren’t made of the mineral itself; rather, they use synthetic compounds having the perovskite structure. Here’s a Wikipedia article about that.

The news releases, of course, stress the positives. They can be manufactured using widely available materials, using much less energy than silicon cell manufacture. They can cost less and can be printed using techniques such as screen printing. Articles elsewhere say perovskite can have higher efficiency than silicon.

I spent an hour or two reading online. That doesn’t make me an expert, but there are some concerns that people are working on. The compound most used includes lead, raising serious concerns about pollution from discarded cells. Also, their long-term stability at present is limited. Here’s a link to a Wikipedia Perovskite Solar Cell article.

It’s still early. Research continues. I’m betting perovskites will be an important advance.